Closing Thought–15Jan20

Let It Burn!

I am sure that everyone with an ear has heard bout the outrageous fires in Australia…..they have caused deaths both human and animal and blackened millions of acres of land.

The authorities have arrested dozens of people for starting fires…..

At least 24 people have been killed in the bushfires that have raged in Australia. The same number of people in the hard-hit state of New South Wales have been arrested and charged with deliberately setting fires there since the fall. USA Today reports one of the 24 is a 19-year-old volunteer firefighter. Blake Banner is accused of being involved in seven fires that emerged south of Sydney. Suspicions were raised after Banner was regularly among the first to arrive on the scene. ABC News reports a prison term of up to 21 years is possible for anyone found guilty of intentionally igniting a fire and recklessly promoting its growth.

Another 100 people have allegedly violated the state’s fire ban or tossed a lit cigarette or match on the ground. Meanwhile, the AP reports the scope of the financial toll of the disaster became a little more clear Tuesday, with the Insurance Council of Australia doubling the estimated damage bill since just Sunday to $485 million. Australia’s fire season typically runs from December to March, but drought and heat brought on a September start this year.

Is it climate change or just stupid individuals?

New South Wales police force announced that it had charged 24 people with deliberately starting bushfires in the Australian state.

The force also noted that it’s taken legal action against a total of 183 people for 205 bushfire-related offenses, including failure to comply with a fire ban and discarding lit cigarettes or matches on land.

The news that arsonists have contributed to the deadly fires raging in Australia is both highly disturbing and disheartening. But perhaps even more troubling is the wielding of this information as “evidence” that climate change isn’t a major contributing factor to the emergency.

https://futurism.com/australia-arrests-dozens-starting-bushfires

Man made or climate change?

Potato or potato (its all in the pronunciation)

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Getting The News Out

A Saturday and I would like to talk about local newspapers….they seem to be dying…..

That got to thinking about when I saw the local newspaper office that is close to my home…..

Image

Now it is for sale…the building that is……

Image

The Sun-Herald was our local paper it had won a Pulitzer (I believe) for its investigative journalism and now it is gone (not completely but mostly) it is small and printed in a city 90 miles away and shipped down to be delivered.

This is why I started thinking about local news…..and how the internet has helped them die a slow death……

Blame revenue siphoned by online competition, cost-cutting ownership, a death spiral in quality, sheer disinterest among readers or reasons peculiar to given locales for that development. While national outlets worry about a president who calls the press an enemy of the people, many Americans no longer have someone watching the city council for them, chronicling the soccer exploits of their children or reporting on the kindly neighbor who died of cancer.

Local journalism is dying in plain sight.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/10/town-by-town-local-journalism-is-dying-in-plain-sight.html

Can local newspapers ever make a comeback?

They were all broken not by national chains but by local newspapers — the Flint Journal, the Storm Lake Times, and the Charleston Gazette-Mail, respectively. Indeed, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Notre Dame have found evidence that wasteful spending by local governments increases when there is no local newspaper to hold them accountable.

And that is not the only way in which local newspapers have had an impact.

A recent study by Duke University researchers found that local newspapers significantly outperformed local TV, radio, and online-only outlets in producing news stories that are original, local, or address a critical information need.

Can Local Newspapers Make a Comeback?

I think if they do make some sort of comeback it will be in the form of partisan crap….all balance will be gone….it would follow the way that broadcast news has been taken over by tribal corporations.

It is sad but my local newspaper will be gone and never to return in my lifetime.

What about your town or area….how are the newspapers doing?

Any thoughts?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–10Jan20

As an amputee I found this report very disturbing…..

……there was a movie about the repossession of body parts for none payment….and I thought it was fiction……

It seems that a veteran has had his replacement leg repossessed for non-payment…..

Do I have your attention now?

A decorated military veteran who served in Vietnam and Iraq has claimed that his prosthetic legs were taken away after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would not cover the cost.

Jerry Holliman, 69, told the Clarion Ledger that he was in his room at the Veterans Home in Collins, Mississippi just a couple days before Christmas when a man walked in and took away his prosthetic limbs. According to Holliman, the VA said it would not cover the cost of the limbs, while Medicare said there’d be a copay required.

“Medicare did not send me to Vietnam,” Holliman, who received Bronze Stars in both wars in which he served, told the Ledger in an article published Thursday. “I was sent there by my country…with the understanding that if something bad happened to me, that it would be covered by the VA.”

The newspaper reported that Holliman received his prosthetics in August from the national company Hanger, which produces them. Holliman said, however, that after he received a few training lessons from Hanger staff, he was told the VA would not cover the cost and to check with Medicare.

According to Holliman, the Medicare paperwork said there would be a copay, and Holliman did not want to pay since he expected the VA to cover the costs in the end.

(Clarion Ledger)

Another example of just how badly the veterans are being screwed by the government…….do not blame Trump alone…this, sh*t has been going on for decades.

Every candidate, no matter the party, says they will protect our veterans and their words are hollow for they NEVER maker good on that promise…NONE OF THEM!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–07Jan20

We are always looking for someone to blame for the poor nutrition of our children…..and we have found a new foes….Dollar Stores…..

This latest front in the food wars has emerged over the last few years. Communities like Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Fort Worth, Birmingham, and Georgia’s DeKalb County have passed restrictions on dollar stores, prompting numerous other communities to consider similar curbs. New laws and zoning regulations limit how many of these stores can open, and some require those already in place to sell fresh food. Behind the sudden disdain for these retailers—typically discount variety stores smaller than 10,000 square feet—are claims by advocacy groups that they saturate poor neighborhoods with cheap, over-processed food, undercutting other retailers and lowering the quality of offerings in poorer communities. An analyst for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, for instance, argues that, “When you have so many dollar stores in one neighborhood, there’s no incentive for a full-service grocery store to come in.” Other critics, like the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, go further, contending that dollar stores, led by the giant Dollar Tree and Dollar General chains, sustain poverty by making neighborhoods seem run-down. “It’s a recipe for locking in poverty rather than reducing it,” an institute representative told the Washington Post early this year.

https://www.city-journal.org/banning-dollar-stores

Sorry but blaming a store is just lazy and avoids responsibility…..

We could fix the problem of children’s nutrition….make healthy food cheaper….yep it is that simple……and yet not possible in our current society.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Should We Go Or Should We Stay?

The death ofm the Iranian general has had a flurry of statements and Tweets (mostly by Trump)….plus the SecState Pompeo on every Sunday news channel to regurgitate a pathetic clarification of what the attacks were all about and what we should do……

The usual chest thumping by Trump and the warhawks…..but the big news was the vote in the Iraqi Parliament…..

Iraq’s Parliament, the Council of Representatives (CoR), passed a non-binding resolution to cancel the request for military aid from the government of Iraq to the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition. The resolution does not require a U.S. withdrawal, which only the Prime Minister can order by rescinding the Status of Forces Agreement with the U.S. It is unclear whether caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mehdi has the authority to do so. The CoR resolution sets political conditions to justify subsequent Iranian proxy attacks on U.S. forces and installations, however. Nationalist Shi’a Cleric Muqtada al Sadr also called for the mobilization of new “resistance” groups to support such attacks.
 
Iraq’s parliament passed a non-binding resolution rejecting the presence of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. 172 members of the Iraqi Council of Representatives (CoR) convened on Sunday, January 5 in an “extraordinary session” to discuss the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi Popular Mobilization Committee Deputy Chief and Kata’ib Hezbollah commander Abu Mehdi al-Muhandis on January 3, 2020. Kurdish political parties boycotted the session, as did many Sunni political parties. Caretaker Prime Minister (PM) Adel Abdul Mehdi submitted the resolution. It passed with 170 votes.
 
The resolution does not require an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces. The CoR’s resolution asks the Government of Iraq (GoI) to cancel the 2014 military aid request from the GoI to coalition forces. The resolution does not explicitly ask the GoI to revoke the State of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the U.S. and Iraq. It does, however, say the GoI “must work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason.” It also calls on the Iraqi government to establish a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops. The CoR cannot itself cancel the 2014 request for coalition support or the SOFA, which requires executive action from the PM. It is unclear if PM Mehdi has the legal authority to do so given his status as a caretaker PM. Mehdi resigned on November 29, 2019 during mass protests.
 
Nationalist Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr may participate in attacks on US forces and installations. The leader of Sadr’s Toward Reform bloc issued a statement to the CoR on Sadr’s behalf that included demands for an even greater response. In addition to withdrawing from U.S. security agreements, Sadr called for the immediate closure of the “Embassy of American Evil in Iraq,” the closure of U.S. bases in the country, the “humiliating expulsion” of U.S. troops, the “criminalization” of any communication with the U.S. government, and the boycott of American products. In a tweet following the session, Sadr condemned the CoR resolution as insufficient and called on “the Iraqi resistance factions in particular and the factions outside of Iraq for an immediate meeting to announce the formation of “international resistance groups.”
 
Implications: This resolution renders the maintenance of a U.S. or coalition military presence in Iraq politically difficult but does not yet legally require a U.S. withdrawal. However, it solidifies the Iranian narrative of a U.S. “occupation” of Iraq and sets political conditions to justify subsequent attacks on U.S. forces across the Middle East. These escalations will likely come not only from Iran’s direct proxy militias, but also from a pan-Shi’a resistance movement that Muqtada al-Sadr is now attempting to generate. The Iraqi Security Forces have up until this point depended on coalition military support to sustain pressure on the Islamic State (ISIS). Any withdrawal of coalition forces from Iraq offers ISIS increased freedom of movement and improves conditions for ISIS to reconstitute itself inside of Iraq and Syria.
Iraq wants the US to leave and yet we say “no way”…….what part of that is anything but an authoritarian approach to the situation?
 
That said let’s return to SecState Pompeo and his performance on the Sunday talk shows…..

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hit the Sunday talk-show circuit and blamed the entire Iran crisis on former President Obama, USA Today reports. “We’re trying to correct for what was the Obama administration’s appeasement of Iran,” Pompeo said on ABC News’ This Week, after President Trump ordered the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, sparking protests in Iran and threats of retaliation. “This is a regime that has been acting against America for an awfully long time. And we are suffering from eight years of neglect and we’re trying to push it back. We’re trying to contain them.” Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, he referred to the current conflict as a “war,” saying “this war kicked off” when Obama and the European Union signed its nuclear deal with Iran. For more:

  • ‘BS’: “This is BS from Pompeo,” tweeted former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes. “This isn’t a ‘both sides argue’ issue, it’s about facts: Iran was complying with deal that rolled back nuke program and there were 0 rocket attacks on US interests in Iraq during that time. Trump pulled out and Iran resumed nuke program and rocket attacks.”
  • ‘Endless war’: “I really worry that the actions the president took will get us into what he calls another ‘endless war’ in the Middle East,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) on This Week, per the Washington Post. “He promised we wouldn’t have that. And I think we’re closer to that now because of his actions.”
  • ‘Act of war’: “Let’s not mince words: the assassination of Qasem Soleimani was an act of war undertaken without Congressional authorization,” write Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Barbara Lee (D-Texas) in a statement, per KSTP. “…We in Congress must exercise our Constitutional duty—and do everything in our power to stop another disastrous war.”
  • In his defense: Trump “is not saying, ‘Congress, I need 100,000 American troops to invade Iran.’ That’s why all this talk about war powers and congressional authority is so silly,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) on CBS’s Face the Nation, per the Sun-Sentinel. “The president’s not talking about invading Iran. He’s talking about responding to anything Iran may do in the future.”
  • More Pompeo: “Endless wars are the direct result of weakness,” Pompeo said on Fox News Sunday, per RealClearPolitics. “And President Trump will never let that happen. We’re going to get it right.”

So much spin…like the attack will prevent a war……Trump will never let our wars become endless……two examples of manure spreading.

Sorry but targeting cultural sites is targeting civilians….is they what them US has come to?  If so then we are no better than some of the “terrorists” we are supposedly fighting.

All this chaos is looking like “amateur hour” foreign policy.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Those Steel Promises

Closing Thought–30Dec19

Does anyone remember the promises Trump made in 2016 about the return of our industries like steel?

If you are a Trump supporter you will NOT remember that lie or that promise broken…..

Just to let Americans know…the steel industry is struggling and NOT returning….as a matter of fat it is closing down another plant…..

U.S. Steel Corp. announced this week that it will close a mill near Detroit, laying off more than 1,500 workers as it tries to address financial losses.

The news comes just months after U.S. Steel announced it would be laying off 200 workers at the same mill, Great Lakes Works. 

U.S. Steel said they expect to end the mill’s iron and steelmaking operations by April 1, 2020, with another part of the mill closing by the end of 2020. The estimated job loss is 1,545 workers.

Steel production will instead be shifted to a plant in Gary, Ind., where the company has invested $750 million after both the city and state gave U.S. Steel tax breaks. Those tax breaks aimed to keep at least 3,875 jobs at the plant.

The changes, along with a plan to slash its dividend and suspend stock repurchases, come as the company predicts major losses in the fourth quarter of the year. According to MarketWatch, U.S. Steel reported an adjusted loss of $1.15 a share in the fourth quarter. The number is far more than analysts’ original projection, which put losses at 62 cents a share. 

“We are conscious of the impact this decision will have on our employees, their families, and the local community, and we are announcing it now to provide them with as much time as possible to prepare for this transition,” CEO David Burritt said in a press release.

“These decisions are never easy, nor are they taken lightly.  However, we must responsibly manage our resources while also strengthening our company’s long-term future – a future many stakeholders depend on.  We will be taking steps in the weeks and months ahead to assist impacted employees by providing additional education about benefits available through our company, as well as community resources.”

The announcement comes as steel has been at the center of President Trump‘s ongoing trade war with China. After the first round of tariffs, the White House celebrated domestic steel price increases and Trump said tariffs were rebuilding the industry, but the prices have since seen a sharp decline.

The U.S. and China have closed in on a new trade deal this month, and are working out the final details. Officials said the deal involves lifting some U.S. tariffs on China, while Beijing has agreed to purchase more agricultural products from the U.S.

(thehill.com)

Just another lie that will go unchallenged…..

We hear all the time just how good the economy is doing….but do not ask the steel workers they may crap all over the “good news”….

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Space 2019

I close out the year with a reminder that the US now has a separate Space Force…..what does that mean?

I will help everyone understand before it is too late…..

A little background…….https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/Portals/10/ASPJ/journals/Volume-33_Issue-4/F-Townsend.pdf

Now just what will this elite Space Force actually do?

“Space is the world’s newest war-fighting domain,” President Trump said during the signing ceremony. “Amid grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital. And we’re leading, but we’re not leading by enough. But very shortly we’ll be leading by a lot.”

The idea was widely mocked when it was first floated, providing fodder for late night hosts, newspaper cartoonists and comedy writers. Senior military officials have previously raised concerns about what it will cost, and former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned against rushing into creating the force without clearly defined goals.

“This is not a farce. This is nationally critical,” Gen. John Raymond, who will lead the Space Force, told reporters on Friday. “We are elevating space commensurate with its importance to our national security and the security of our allies and partners.”

https://www.npr.org/2019/12/21/790492010/trump-created-the-space-force-heres-what-it-will-do

I have had a problem with this decision from the beginning….for one there is the cost to the taxpayer in a era of tax cuts and increased spending….second then there is the Area Of Operation (AOR)……does anyone realize just how massive that would be?

It is a BAD IDEA!

One of the distinguishing characteristics of space is that it has no natural boundaries and is inherently international. With the exception of satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO), all satellites pass over various parts of the Earth’s surface every day. This physical feature of the domain has led to a unique international approach to space missions, as any country’s satellites have free rights of passage over other nations’ territories. Furthermore, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which the United States has ratified, states that “outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States” and that “outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.” From the outset, the international community realized that unlike the air, sea, and land domains where countries can claim sovereign areas, the space domain is inherently international.

So why did the US military re-establish Space Command as a geographic command if there are no distinct territories or regions in space?

CSIS Bad Idea: Giving Space Command An AOR

Just a few thoughts on our new Space Force to close out the year.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”